Society, in general, wants us to be nice people. When we’re young, we’re often reminded why it’s a bad idea to be too stingy, too aggressive, too mean, or too arrogant. Unfortunately, society generally doesn’t remind us that being too nice can be just as bad, if not worse, than being mean. As a result, many of us have a hard time saying no when asking for a favor, and even more of us are ashamed to ever consider putting our own needs first.
The problem is that being a doormat isn’t healthy for you, and often will ruin your relationships. I ought to know; I’ve been a doormat up until recently. It took one of the rudest awakenings of my life to realize that everyone should stand up for themselves, and put themselves first. Don’t believe me? Here are 10 observations I had made when I was known for being a pushover.
- If you’re a doormat, people get angrier when you say no. Once in a while, doing a favor for someone won’t hurt you. However, when you’re a doormat, you’re everyone’s shoulder to cry on, everyone’s provider, and everyone’s savior. Doing things for people ends up becoming a habit, and they soon begin to expect you to do whatever they ask, whenever they ask – even if it’s at a loss to you. If it’s become a habit for too long, then there’s a chance that people will lash out in anger if you tell them you can’t do something for them. After all, you’ve accidentally trained them to feel like they are entitled to you, your possessions, and whatever else you can offer. On the other hand, if you’ve told them no on a regular basis, they appreciate favors more. They know that you have boundaries, and are less likely to get pissed if you stand up for yourself. Simply put, if you show that you actually have priorities other than them, they realize that a favor is a rare gesture and will work harder for others.
- Your reputation suffers if you’re a doormat. Going back to my initial point, people get angrier if you refuse to help them after having helped them for a long time. This means that when they get angry, they’re more likely to badmouth you because they feel more cheated out of things they didn’t actually deserve to receive. No one ever really thanked me when I was a doormat, but when I would eventually say “I can’t give you this,” I was regularly called a “stingy bitch” by those who I refused.
- The help you give isn’t often reciprocated. It’s a known fact that most people are more willing to take than they are to give. This is just human nature. So, while they might have been glad to receive help when they were in a bad position, there’s no saying whether or not they help you when you need it. In fact, you may find out that the people that you help don’t even actually like you – even when you’re nice to them. If you’re being a doormat in hopes that people will change their minds and befriend you, stop. Friendships don’t work that way – at least not real ones. It may hurt you to see so many people bail on you, but at the very least, they won’t bail on you when you need them the most.
- Nobody respects the opinions or needs of a doormat. This was probably the most heartbreaking lesson I learned. People, in general, won’t respect a doormat. Why would they care what you think, or bother trying to meet you halfway? You’ll just do whatever they tell you to, anyway, so it won’t matter to them in the long or short run. People are naturally geared to take advantage of others until it stops working. If you keep rolling over for others, then they’ll have no need to improve their level of respect for you.
- It teaches other people really bad lessons. When we reward bad behavior like entitlement, aggression, and intimidation, we’re basically saying to that person that it’s okay to treat others like that. People, when dealing with others, will typically do the easiest thing that works. Intimidating people, begging people, or calling on people to “roll over” to their demands is often an easier route than asking someone who commands respect to help you out.
- Being a doormat attracts the absolute worst kind of people. When you don’t stand up for yourself, the vast majority of people who will surround you are users. These are people who will suck the life out of you, drain your finances, and just wreck any good opportunity that you may have. Your entourage will take advantage of you at every turn, and will never apologize for their wrongdoing. If you don’t want to deal with toxic people, you’ll have to set some boundaries.
- It’s very, very depressing. I can’t stress how depressing it is to give, give, and give, only to never get back even an iota of respect. Being a doormat makes you feel worthless, even if you actually think you’re taking the higher road in a situation. As a result, it’s safe to say that you’re better off standing up for yourself than continually doing things to please others.
- Your boundaries will disappear. Since people don’t respect people-pleasers, they aren’t going to respect your boundaries, either. This can mean that they’ll just show up at your house without warning, that they’ll insult you behind your back, or that they’ll steal from you. Healthy boundaries generally don’t exist with people-pleasers, and this often means that those moochers will feel fine with turning your life upside down.
- The need for acceptance and being liked gets stronger every day that you live as a doormat. Doing nice things for people can make us all feel great about ourselves, especially when we’re thanked. However, that tends to turn into an addiction when you’re a doormat. You soon begin to need that acceptance. You soon begin to need that feeling of approval and being liked. What’s really sad is that the people who approved of me never actually liked me for me, or respected me. Needless to say, I soon realized that the acceptance that I went through such great lengths to attain wasn’t even real in the first place.
- In full reality, you’re not helping anyone. If you really want to help people out, then let them learn how to stand up on their own. People need to learn how to function on their own, and that means that they need to learn to not rely on their own personal butler. You’re also not helping yourself out by letting people walk all over you. Sometimes, in order to be kind to ourselves and in order to be genuinely good people, you will have to put your foot down and stand up for your rights. Otherwise, it quickly just turns into a toxic downward spiral.
If you’ve ever been told that you’re too nice, or have noticed that people just don’t respect you, then it’s time to take a nice, good look at yourself. You may be a doormat without even noticing it, and that’s a serious problem that you need to fix. If you don’t stop rolling over for people, you’ll end up in situations that can ruin your life.